Director: Renaud Gauthier
Screenplay: Renaud Gauthier
Starring: Jeremie Earp Lavergne, Sandrine Bisson, Ivan Freud, Ingrid Falaise
Running Time: 77 mins
BBFC Classification: 18
It’s 1976, in the USA, and a shy young man, Duane Lewis, is persuaded by a female admirer to go with her to a disco that evening, even though he’s plainly not comfortable with the idea at all. It comes as no surprise that Duane freaks out at the discotheque and ends up killing his date under the glass dance floor, while the rest of the dancers party, unconcerned, overhead. Duane then does what any self-respecting sociopath does and leaves the country the very same day to avoid being caught for the murder.
We fast forward to 1980 and Duane is now working as an audio technician at a private religious school, in Montreal, for young women. This is even odder since Duane pretends to be almost deaf, wearing a hearing aid, which actually prevents him from hearing much at all. He’s worked out that it is music that sets off his impulse to kill and, fair play to him, he’s trying to avoid doing that. However, it doesn’t take long for him to lose his hearing piece and find himself severely disturbed by the sounds of pop music coming from one of the girl’s dorms. Two nubile, scantily-clad, young women are quickly dispatched, their heads removed and pieces of vinyl record inserted into them.
We later cut to him tormenting a kidnapped female teacher, Melanie, (who he thinks looks like him when he was a boy at the time of his father’s death), and playing with the severed heads of the two women he recently killed. He even tries ‘playing’ them on his turntable in his murky cellar den.
The local police are baffled, but help is on the way in the form of the original police officer, Paul, in charge of the initial murder case back in the US of A. Apparently, because of his obsession with the case, his partner at the time was fast-tracked to become his now disparaging boss, while he was given all the shitty jobs to do. But, after reading a report on the new murders across the border in Canada, he heads north to share his theories about the killer with the rather confused Canadians. Can he get there in time to prevent more sadism at Saint Lucille College or will it be lights out for more co-existing co-eds? You’ll just have to watch the film to find out!
I’ve got to say Discopath wasn’t what I was expecting – I’d kind of suspected it would more of a black comedy than it was. It took itself a bit too seriously and ended up being downright disturbing in some places! This, in part, is due to the lead nutter, played by Lavergne, who I couldn’t quite figure out. Was he a really bad actor or was he just a bit weird naturally? His ‘kind of vacant’ shtick sort of works in this role, but most of the time he comes over as rather wooden. However, the film wouldn’t be the same without him and the murders have quite a sleazy, scuzzy edge to them.
Discopath is quite stylishly shot at times, although from time-to-time we get very static, stagey scenes that seem to belong in another film. The initial kill is especially intense as the girl is trapped under the dance floor and is savagely knifed as the party continues overhead. There’s also another stylish, strobe-lit kill on a dance floor later on – obviously the writer was hot for lots of dance-floor mayhem!
I think the film’s strongest asset is its score, which is well suited to the visuals and brings an added dimension to the whole look and feel of the movie. The director wrote the main theme for the film and I think it works really well as a ‘psycho on the loose’ bridging tool.
Overall, it’s worth a look if you enjoy retro ‘slasher’ flicks.
Discopath is released on DVD on 4th May and is being distributed by Metrodome. Unfortunately there were no extras on the review disc – I’d have loved to have heard a commentary.